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"I think Giada and I will retire now, Massimo."
Massimo di Rossi lifted his green and gold feathered mask and smiled at his brother, lifting his cheek for a kiss. He got one on both cheeks, Dante's rough hands snagging on the fine brocade of his doublet.
"You are far too fond of your wife, Dante," he replied. "'Tis unseemly."
"So they tell me. Still, you know how I hate these things."
Si. He knew very well how Dante felt about balls and masques and having to dress in finery. He preferred the wilds of Sicily to the hospitable bustle of Firenze. Still, he had come at Massimo's request for the family's midsummer ball without complaint.
Well, without too much, at any rate.
"You might do well were you more fond of your own wife."
Massimo snorted. "She is as easy to love as an eel."
"Baked in pie she would be more to your taste then?"
He laughed aloud. "You have the luxury of fondness with Giada. Remember that I married Serena for other reasons and be done with it."
"Si, si. She has retired?" There was that slightly pitying look of a man in love, and Massimo gritted his teeth on his smile.
"She has. And with you taking your provincial ways off to bed, I may begin to enjoy myself."
Dante nodded, hand clasping Massimo's shoulder again, squeezing. "Do that. But have a care. Your wife's family is about."
He would not roll his eyes. In fact, he did not, for which he was most proud. Serena's family could go straight to Hell, and take all of their little political machinations with them for all he cared. Tonight was for debauchery.
"Buona sera, Dante," he said, cutting off further discussion in that vein. "I will see youtomorrow. We will talk, hmm?"
Dante searched his face, then nodded, his usual stoic mask falling into place. "Si. At breakfast, hmm? Giada and I will stay at least through Mass on the rest day. Buona sera, brother."